Sports betting has never been easier. There is no longer a need for punters to frequent their local bookmaker on the high street to place their ambitious accumulator on the weekend’s football.
Instead, they have access to an abundance of betting markets at their fingertips thanks to the expansion of online betting in recent years. Gone are the days when punters simply bet on the outcome of a game; they can now bet on hundreds of markets on a single game. Markets such as ‘team to take a corner in all four corners of the pitch’. ‘whether there will be a corner in a certain minute of the game’ and the ‘number of tackles/shots that a certain player’ will have in a single game can all be waged on by the punter.
Bookmakers are increasingly looking at new markets as methods to engage the modern-day football fan, who has a range of information and statistics at their disposal to place their bet.
It’s not only the number of markets that betting firms are looking to change. Online bookmakers are also looking to simplify the user journey on their apps in order to make betting as quick and accessible as possible for punters. Options such as ‘quick deposit’ can allow the punter to make a up to a four-figure deposit in the matter of seconds with the touch of a few buttons.
It seems to be working too. According to a report by the Gambling Commission, the percentage of punters betting using a mobile device increased by 10% to 39% in 2017 compared to the 12 months previous. Laptops remain the most popular device for online gambling, with exactly 50% of punters opening up their PC to place a flutter.
Who is the next generation of football fan then?
Well, as we have already mentioned, the ‘new-age’ football fan is increasing engaging with football data and statistics to gauge how well his team’s striker is performing compared to others. That information is readily available both through statistics providers FPL Statistics and also through websites like www.compareyourodds.com who provide latest betting odds.
Fantasy football plays a large role across a weekend and matchday for the modern-day football fan. The concept of picking players across a league and compete with friends and family to see who can boast that they have the best footballing knowledge caught on in the UK from the success that Fantasy Football in NFL enjoyed. Now, there are several different versions of fantasy football for fans to get involved with.
This, in effect, can act as a substitute for football betting to a certain extent. The anticipation and expectation in the players in the fantasy team to perform can be compared to the same level of emotion when placing a bet and expecting a team to win. Similarly, the buzz and delight of players in your fantasy football team outperforming those in your friends’ teams can be compared with the thrill of winning a bet. Football fans no longer require betting to complement their match-viewing experience.
Lessons from FOBT
With the government cracking down on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) on April 1, 2019, by reducing the maximum stake from £100 to £2, there may be further intervention in the betting industry from the government with input from the Gambling Commission.
According to a BBC report last year, FOBTs made up 57% of the overall profits by betting shops. With those profits set to be reduced significantly through the reduction of the maximum stake, they could look at other ways of enticing punters to stores.
Furthermore, with the government taking an active stance to address societal problems with gambling, this could be an indication of their widespread intentions to clamp down on the availability of gambling.
Betting firms and shirt sponsors
As of 2000, The Football Association released detailed guidelines on where sponsorship can appear on a football kit. Although alcohol sponsors are not strictly prohibited from sponsoring club kits, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of clubs opting to place alcohol firms as their shirt sponsor. As many as six Premier League teams featured alcohol firms as their main shirt sponsors in the 1994-95 season, with the association between football and alcohol becoming even more prominent during the early 2000s with the introducing of Carling as the Premier League’s title sponsor.
2017, however, marked the first season in which not a single Premier League team had an alcohol firm as their shirt sponsor. This coincided with betting firms becoming more and more involved in sports sponsorship with the 2016-17 seeing exactly half of the 20 Premier League sides having a gambling firm as their shirt sponsor.
There are some limitations in place for gambling firms sponsoring football kits. Youth teams that feature players exclusively under the age of 18 must remove the gambling sponsor or enlist an entirely different sponsor for the youth team. Replica shirts in children’s sizes are also banned from carrying betting sponsorship. These sponsorship guidelines also apply to alcohol, tobacco and any product that features age-restricted products.
Currently, 60% of the teams across England’s top two divisions have a gambling firm as their main shirts sponsor, including a staggering 17 of the 24 clubs in the Championship.
There are so many markets now available for the next generation of punters, with even more competitions and outcomes on the horizon.
E-sports is a rapidly growing market among the youth of today and could well integrate into becoming an integral part of betting sites.
However, we may see intervention from sporting authorities and the government if events of the past 12 months with FOBTs are anything to go by.